This DX site was created to let fellow dxer's know what we are up to while on DXpeditions in our former Walsoorden site (HOL) and the new site near Veurne, West Flanders, Belgium. We hope it inspires other dxers to try DXpeditions.

We travel to such locations to escape noise and to be able to put out long beverage antennas. Something we cannot do from home. DXpeditions take place several times a year. Usually in winter. Dxer's from Belgium and The Netherlands take the opportunity to dx from such rural dx location.

Are you interested in future dx trips? Get in touch with us. Send an email to us. We are always happy hearing from dxer's from other countries.


Monday, February 14, 2022

KNL09 - Knollehof DXped 4-7 February 2022

On February 4th our alarm clocks were again set very early to leave home for that wonderful DX-location in Flanders Fields. 8 participants had signed up but unfortunately once again, one of our active participants had to cancel his trip because he felt feverish.

Leen van Oeveren, Jan Feenstra, Frank Huyghe, Marc van Leemputten, Aart Rouw, Dave Onley and yours truly Guido Schotmans were present.

The weather forecast didn’t look good for the weekend, but we had a lot of luck while putting up the Beverage antennas. It went smoothly even though we missed one of our “workhorses”. It’s becoming more routine now and we managed to put them up with only 2 guys. Propagation conditions didn’t look very promising for paths over the poles, so no Alaska antenna was erected. We did however point our noses towards the South and rolled one out towards Argentina. We finished that just in time before the rain started pouring down heavily.

The other guys were busy putting up the shortwave antennas which didn’t seem to be an easy task under the windy conditions.


Sunday was the worst day with winds reaching 100 km/h. One of the masts of the longwire antenna did not survive. As you can see by the pictures, one section of the mast was very badly bent. A lot of racing around was done trying to save the other mast and checking damage. Dave walked the fields in the
Flanders mud that afternoon. What an effort. All was good for now but the heavy winds persisted. But later that afternoon, rain water dripped from the ceiling on Frank Huyge’s head. The rain apparently found its way through the little cracks in the ceiling.

For food we went as usual to the local take away Chinese at Veurne. When we asked for the bill, she said I’ll print you one in Dutch while this is in Chinese. I wanted to reply with one of those Chinese station ID’s from the Medium wave but just kept it to a Ni Hao.

We had also something to celebrate. Aart got permission from home for a few days off to celebrate his birthday, in a DXing environment. However, this resulted in frequent interruptions in his activities due to phone calls with birthday wishes.

The first night of the trip seemed to be the better one. For some strange reason, Brazilians on Medium Wave are as difficult as they were easy on the Tropical Bands in the old days, but we managed to catch several Firsts that could be stored in our logbooks. It looked like we had to rename the Argentina antenna into the Brazil antenna. So maybe that antenna is a keeper for the next editions of the DX-pedition, especially while solar flux and other propagation parameters are now rising.

Embed from Getty Images 

Frank Huyghe had a nice homebuilt Twin Dual frequency Navtex Receiver project monitoring 518 and 490 kHz simultaneously. It worked well but some tweaking is still necessary.


Jan Feenstra had built a very nice LZ1AQ loop that turned out to do much better than in the initial tests.

Monday morning skies were clear and the rain had disappeared. Excellent for taking down the antennas and driving home again around midday.

Our next trip in November, we will celebrate out 10th visit to Knollehof.


Look here for this excellent vacation home near the Belgian coast. 

Thanks again to Hilde and Pieter for their hospitality. 

Friday, November 19, 2021

KNL08 - Knollehof DXped 12-15 November 2021

A DXpedition requires a lot of preparation. Can the location be rented or are there other tenants who want to experience a commemoration about The Great War? After all, we are in the middle of Flanders Field where thousands of soldiers were stationed, where they got hurt or lost their lives. They came from countries that we now consider DX. North Americans but also Australians, Kiwis, Indians, Africans. 

How the field is doing is another question. Has the rain created a sticky mud that sticks to the boots and drives our weight up by a few kilos? Has the freezing cold transformed the field with some kind of concrete? Or how will conditions behave knowing that the days or weeks leading up to the DX weekend were erratic? These are questions that haunt us.

On Friday the 12th of November, 9 avid DXers gathered at Knollehof Vacation House for KNL-08. It was almost 2 years since we have been there cause of Covid-19 restrictions. And even this time we had our concerns while figures were going again in the wrong direction.  Luckily it was possible to take place but we took several measures to be on the safe side.

Friday morning I left home at 7 am local time for the 150 km ride, but some of us had to drive a lot further while they were coming from the central region of the Netherlands, and Aart coming from Germany had over 600 km to do.


Frank Huyghe, Guido Schotmans, Jan Feenstra, Frank Thys, Leen van Oeveren, Han Hardonk, Aart Rouw, Marc van Leemputten and David Onley


Traffic was low while it was public holiday in Belgium and the weather was fine.  Setting up the antennas was also easy this time because the state of the field has never been so good, despite the unfortunate lack of a DXpedition pioneer, who suffers a lot from back problems, the arrangement of the beverages went smoothly. Only drawback was that the WD-1A military wire we use is old, getting fragile and breaking more often than we used to see.

Advised by Christoph Ratzer from Austria we changed 2 earth stakes as a test while the copper pipes we used to use showed a lot of fragile sections. Also trying to drive them into the Flanders Fields clay was often a struggle. With these ground drilling auger, it was very easy.

Around midday, most antennas where up. We had a reversible beverage towards the Far East and Peru (80/260°), one to Japan (40°) and one to North America (300°). There was still wire, poles and coax enough to erect the Alaska antenna but conditions over the poles had been reported to be very lousy. So this stayed in the car. Other antennas were a longwire, a KAZ, a LZ1AQ loop and a multi-band and a Sony AN1. 

As mentioned, conditions turned out to be lousy, but we were very supersized to see that still 3 Japanese stations were heard on Medium Wave  (1350 JOER, 1278 JOFR and 1134 JOQR). Also Radio La Verdad from the Philippines was heard with a weak signal on 1350 kHz. The always so strong KBS Korea on 972 was extremely weak what made us wonder if they are really on full power.

Musing about antennas.
Besides the usual MW-DXing, also Fax, Navtex, NDB, FT-8 and other modes were practised with success by the guys. Their interest is mainly in the utility part. Longwires, KAZ antennas, an active vertical antenna gave them the pleasure of beeps, riffs and Morse code. A variety of fashions that gave them a DX joy. So that's the ultimate goal of a DXpedition, Enjoy an unusual hobby. A pluriformity that is respected by everyone. For each of us it matters: Where is that special station hidden and when will I hear or see it.

Participants where also surprised by a quiz that seemed to be a bit difficult, but after all, it was meant to produce a ranking for no less than 7 small portable short-wave radios to give away.  The largest one, a Sangean ATS-803 was going as the first prize to Aart Rouw. Besides that, everybody got a vintage Deutschlandfunk pennant. Generous donor was John Bernaerts. He is also always doing several tasks behind the scenes like placing orders and commands for this event. We're very grateful for his effort.



Aart Rouw was the proud winner of the firts prize of the DX-quiz.

A few of us took the opportunity to visit the nearby picturesque city of Diksmuide. A little city that suffered a lot during the first world-war.

Under normal circumstances we will be at Knollehof again in early February. 



Monday, January 20, 2020

KNL07 - Knollehof DXped 10-13 January 2020


Another Knollehof DXPeditions is once again over. It was a bit a dull edition especially when comparing to the outstanding one last November during which lots of Japanese and further away North Americans where logged. Must be the "winter-anomaly" about which there was some talk on different io groups the last few weeks. 



The reversible Beverage antenna
Beverage antenna setup was the same like during KNL06 with the exception that for the Japan 40° beverage that is fed through a 400 m long coax, common mode chockes were added to prevent bleeding in Spanish stations. Unfortunately, the effect was only minor. We are always glad that the farmers give permission to put our antennas on their fields but this time we grumbled and cursed a bit than usual because of the very sticky mud. Other antennas were also the usual ones except from the fact an old school longwire was added. Always nice to compare.

When looking at the consecutive days, we see that propagation following a northern path was mostly very weak.  The Sunday/Monday night was the better one, or should I say the least bad... Not a single Japanese stations was received (with the exception of a very weak and faint music box interval signal from NHK on 1386 kHz. Strangely enough we were able to receive a snatch of KBRW, Barrow/Utqiaġvik Alaska just strong enough to be able to verify it was them by comparing the webstream.  Unfortunately, no ID was catched. Signals to the South were much better but not outstanding.  Receiving the down-under ABC Adelaide on 891 might be disappearing in our dreams.  Last time, that channel was already occupied by the Dutch LPAM stations and now even by the much more powerful Algerian transmitter is active again there. A few nice Firsts from Latin America were received on the reversible 400 m beverage antenna.  Always nice to see this antenna is performing well. Nevertheless, we had to go out in the dark on Sunday while signals dropped considerably on that antenna caused by some bad contact. 

When packing for DXpeditions, you have to be careful not to forget important things like your receiver, headphones or an antenna switch.  I think I never forgot  important things for the DX hobby. But this time I forgot something really different that might be of some importance: underpants! So I had to drive to Veurne's city center to buy a few. Frank Thijs, most of the time the funny guy (yes most of the time) he advised me to buy the type in the picture below.  Unfortunately they were sold out. It might have been interesting to see if it would bring Nordic DX-conditions. 

For food we had the regular Chinese take away meals accompanied by some well chosen wines. Hugo's wife provided us once again with tasty self made Belgian waffles. Thanks again for that and also for delivering the collect and go shopping. Always nice to have a local guy that knows the region. 



This time there were 8 participants: Aart Rouw, David Onley, Frank Huyghe, Frank Thijs, Guido Schotmans, Jan Feenstra, Leen van Oeveren, Marc Vissers, 


As usual, lots of files to analyse afterwards, so our KNL-07 logbooks are far from complete. When we stumble upon special ones, they will be added here as well.  

Monday, December 2, 2019

KNL06 - Knollehof DXped 15-18 November 2019


Here is the report on our Knollehof DX-pedition with the usual delay. I really don’t know how the Nordic guys like Mika and Bjarne manage it to do those daily in depth reports while DXing, inspecting antennas, cooking etc. Hat off for you guys.

Most of us arrived on Friday around 8:30 local time at Knollehof in Eggewaartskapelle, a hamlet of Veurne . Luckily the weather was fine and the roads were dry so we all had a safe drive. The roads around Antwerp -where most of us have to pass- are famous for their huge traffic jams. The participants from The Netherlands had to drive 4 hours or more.

This time we had these attendees :  Frank Huyghe, Guido Schotmans, Jan Feenstra, Aart Rouw, Leen van Oeveren, Frank Thijs, Marc van Leemputten, Dave Onley, Han Hardonk and Marc Vissers.

Our dx-peditions are becoming more and more international. 4 participants are from Belgium, 3 from the Netherlands, 1 Belgian living in Holland, 1 Dutch living in Germany and 1 Aussie living in Holland.
FH, GS, JF, AR, LvO, FT, MvL, DO, HH and MV 
Once there we started right away building up our shacks and erecting antennas. We had 4 beverage antennas to put up : one reversible of 400 meters and 3 regular ones of 300 meters (go to the previous post to see the antenna directions). For the Japan beverage we needed 400 meters of coax, so all in all we had some physical exercise to do. Luckily the fields were not as muddy as we experienced a few times earlier. And we had luck. Everything worked right away. The other guys were busy putting up their own antennas like verticals, a KAZ, a LZ1AQ double loop, a T2FD and an AN1.

OK, power on, let’s start listening. Asian stations were coming in as early as 1350 UTC. Korea 972 kHz was already bombarding us with huge signals the last weeks and here it was even stronger. Other early birds were China Radio International on 1017, 1188 and 1323 and RTI on 1557. But that are real power houses of course. Soon Japanese stations started to appear. The “usual one” JOFR RKB Mainichi Hoso on 1278 was first. A few years ago
The early birds were not only human.
that was often all we could expect from Japan. Not now. Stations from the Land of the Rising Sun dropped in one by one. You need also a bit of knowledge. NHK Radio 2 stations are giving a nice local sign off ID at 1540 (Sa-Su 1530) including call sign and location followed by the Japanese National Anthem and a music box interval signal before they leave the air. Here is an example of the 10 kilowatt NHK Kanazawa which we caught on 1386 kHz. Luckily Radio Baltic Waves International from Lithuania is making a pause between 1430 and 1630.





As said Japanese stations are really a rarity at our mid latitudes. On extreme Nordic locations they are often heard, but here they are really seldom.  We managed to hear more than 10 Japanese stations!  That’s really pushing the limits.  Here is our list.

kHz
Station
Location
PWR
Dist Km
594
JOAK NHK Radio 1
Shobu/Kuki
300
9454
666
JOBK NHK Radio 1
Osaka/Sakai-Shi
100
9440
774
JOUB NHK Radio 2
Akita
500
9076
873
JOGB NHK Radio 2
Kumamoto
500
9391
1134
JOQR NCB Bunka Hoso
Tokyo/Kawaguchi
100
9484
1278
JOFR RKB Mainichi Hoso
Fukuoka
50
9296
1332
JOSF Tokai Hoso
Nagoya
50
9430
1350
JOER RCC Chugoku Hoso
Etajima/Okimi
20
9330
1386
JOJB NHK Radio 2
Kanazawa
10
9288
1413
JOIF KBC Kyushu Asahi Hoso
Fukuoka
50
9295
1440
JOWF STV Sapporo
Sapporo
50
8812
1449
JOYR RSK Sanyo Hoso
Okayama
10
9356

But not only Japan was good. Also Korea, of course lots of Chinese and Thailand with its new transmitter on 891 was heard very well. The latter one thankfully while the Dutch LPAM station Hotradio Hits was off the air that weekend.

Although results were superb, Spain is almost always much too strong on the back of the Japan beverage antenna.  Next time we’ll plan to isolate the 400m coax by using common mode chokes. Let's hope it has some effect.


The reversible beverage antenna pointing to Australia and Peru.


Conditions to North America were a bit disappointing compared to the Asian results. Maybe we have to dig a little bit further in the loads of recorded files that still have to be analysed. South America was nice on the reversible beverage. Frank T scored several personal first on that antenna. Propagation was favouring Colombia. A bit different from the previous edition of our DXpedition here. Nicest log must be Esperanza Colombia Radio on 1470 kHz at 1 KW night-time power.




Han was lucky getting Kuwait in DGPS. Furthermore he was continuously on top on the DSC ranking list using his LZ1AQ double loop that performed very well at his quiet location. Well done.


Han's LZ1AQ loop was running rather hot because he had nice DGPS logs and was continuously on top of the DSC ranking list.
For food the usual Chinese take away meals were served. Always the best solution when there are 10 participants and the DX-duty is calling. Nevertheless some of us took the time to visit the coast spotting the traditional shrimp fishermen on horses. Veurne city is also an interesting place to visit.


Traditional shrimp fishermen


Monday morning came to soon and we had to take down the antennas again. Unfortunately it started to rain. But even then it went smoothly and everything was packed soon so that most participants could get home before traffic jam started to build up.

In January we will be back scanning the airwaves at this ideal venue.

Further information about this nice holiday location near the Belgian coast can be found on this LINK. It’s an ideal locations for trips in the surrounding of West Flanders and is only a few km away from the French border.

Look also at my page of Japanese Broadcast QSLs
https://japanesebroadcastqsls.blogspot.com/ 





Monday, November 11, 2019

KNL06 - Knollehof DXped 15-18 November 2019

Preparation is under way for KNL06. All antenna wires and coax cables are checked and labeled. Propagation indices are low. Everywhere else, the radio community is complaining about this but we like that ! That's ideal for MW/AM band DXing. 4 Beverage antennas are planned. One of them is reversible.

More will follow here later. Some instant reports will be posted on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/knollehofdxped/






Monday, February 11, 2019

KNL05 - Knollehof DXped 11-14 January 2019


On January the 11th it was once again time to pack radio stuff and move to the West Coast of Flanders to put up our antennas and eavesdrop the airwaves for the most distant signals. Weather was fine so putting up the different antennas was going more or less without major issues.  At first sight, the fields where looking fine but still it turned out that the clay sticked tightly to our boots making walking around difficult.  This time we opted to move the (80-260°) reversible beverage antenna to 70-250°. It seemed to be not such a good choice while it’s performance was definitely lower than during previous editions of our DX-peditions here.  But it just could have been propagation as well. We also had some bad luck with a bad connection caused by a plug.

The North American antenna which we pointed previously to 290° was moved to 325°. We never before heard West coasters here and while solar cycle is at its low end and indices are also low, we would give that a try. Also a real Alaska antenna at 350° was erected and one for Japan at 40°. All were between 300 and 400 meters long. There was also an impressive number of other antennas like a verticals, KAZ, double LZ1AQ loop, Stampfl AD2 and an AN1.

Plenty of space for Beverage antennas, at least for Central European standards.
All participants arrived nice in time and gave the needed assistance to arrange everything: Marc Vissers, Frank Huyghe, Ron Liekens, Frank Thys, Leen van Oeveren, Jan Feenstra, me (Guido Schotmans), and newcomers Aart Rouw, Han Hardonk. As usual, Hugo Matten collected the shopping from the supermarket.

Newcomers Aart and Han
Somewhere in the afternoon we were ready to fire up our gear. At first sight it looked like several antennas were going to be much less productive and had almost all day long heavy signals from Spain, the stronger ones were not even disappearing during the day. And of course also way to much UK stations, but they are mostly in the same direction of our beverage antennas. Even Brexit isn't going to solve this 😄

But that was just a feeling I presume while as the dxpedition went by we had to reconsider our thoughts. There were not as much signal from the Far East as previously but then a few stations from Japan that were never heard before gave excellent signal. Amongst them JOER RCC Chugoku Hoso on 1350 kHz 




and JONR ABC Asahi Hoso on 1008 kHz that was only 2 weeks before vacated by the Dutch Groot Nieuws Radio. Also Kampuchea on 918 kHz was a nice Firstimer that just came out of the noise when playing their National Anthem.

On Saturday afternoon Aart yelled “Alaska” via our WhatsApp alarm line. And indeed, bits and traces where audible and we could verify that it really was KBRW on 680 by checking the online stream. But signal stayed unfortunately so low that almost nothing was understandable besides one or two words somewhere, and by the time we reached the top of the hour the Spanish adjacent channels was so strong that all signals on 680 where drowned. So it was clear that propagation wasn’t going to reach the levels it reached 2 or 3 weeks before when KBRW was even heard on an ALA loop antenna in central Europe. Although we had a specific Alaska beverage. But we need a challenge for next time.

No worries, there was still a lot to come.  As said above we moved our North America antenna from 290° to 325°. That was a big goal. This direction points to the West Coast, to Vancouver Canada to be precise. During live listening we already found that Spanish stations weren’t disturbing Trans-Atlantic channels as much as before and several stations from the Midwest where found at decent levels.  But when analysing files at home later, the big revelation came.  Especially Marc Vissers clung to the subject and found almost 40 “First logs” mostly from the Midwest but also several from the West-Coast and a few had really good strength.  In fact it was the first time we were able to hear Westcoasters during a DXpedition.



You can take a look at Marc's TA-Logs here.

Several other participant were busy testing other kinds of antennas and comparing software solutions. Trying to keep up with latest SDR-console possibilities is also always impressive.
Frank Huyghe, our FAX guru was a bit disappointed by the results he got in his hobby section.

And besides DXing, there is always time for good food and drinks and exchanging ideas about this most interesting hobby.

Next appointment at Knollehof will be next November.

A lot more about our DXpedition can be found on this FB-group.







Wednesday, January 23, 2019

A few Japanese QSL received by Frank Thijs

Frank Thijs provided a few nice Japanese QSL's he received for reports of stations he put in his log for the Knollehof DXped site.









JOFR - RKB Radio 1278 kHz



JOUB - NHK 2 - 774 kHz



JOWF - STV Radio - 1440 kHz